BLU announced some new LTE devices the other day. The Studio 6.0 LTE is a 6-inch device with a 1080p screen. The Studio 5.0 HD LTE has a 5-inch display. The Studio Mini LTE is smaller, with a 4.5-inch display. It has an FWVGA display and runs on a quad-core Snapdragon 400 chipset. It's got Android 4.4.2 KitKat out of the box, with 5-megapixel rear camera. It retails for about $115, unlocked and off-contract. Let's see what the BLU Studio Mini LTE has to offer.
Network: (3G) 850/1700/1900/2100, (4G LTE) 700/1700/2600
Display: 4.5-inch FWVGA 480 x 854 resolution (218ppi)
Processor: 1.2 GHz quad-core Snapdragon 400 CPU, Adreno 305 GPU
OS: Android 4.3 Kit Kat
Camera: Rear – 5.0 megapixel, Front – VGA, HD 720p video @30fps
Connectivity: WiFi a/b/g/n/ac, GPS, Bluetooth v3.0, Hotspot, micro-USB v2.0
Memory: 1GB RAM, 4GB internal memory + microSD slot expandable up to 32GB
Battery: Li-Ion 1850 mAh
Colors: Blue, Yellow, White, Pink, Grey, Orange
The Studio Mini LTE runs Android 4.3 Jelly Bean out of the box. I don't know why BLU opted for Jelly Bean instead of at least putting 4.4 KitKat on this phone, but that's what they have done. It's an almost stock experience. The software is quick and runs well on this phone's hardware. BLU pre-loads a couple of apps on the phone: a file manager, and an FM radio. In the Settings there are a couple of cool additions, namely Audio Profile, which can be used to change the audio profiles easily. BLU is good about keeping the Android experience pure, just adding a few of their own touches to the mix.
The BLU Studio Mini LTE has a 4.5-inch screen and is easy to hold in your hand. The back is a matte plastic. The review unit I had is the white one. The phone comes in six colors, including Blue, Yellow, White, Pink, Grey, and Orange. The Studio Mini LTE has capacitive buttons just like the Studio 6.0 LTE and the Studio 5.0 HD LTE. The Back button is on the right, the Home button is in the middle, and the left button is a Settings button. This is not a standard button configuration. You have to long press the Home button to access the Recent apps. Really, there should be no Settings button and the standard button configuration should have been used. Even Samsung has gotten on board with the Back, Home, Recents button setup that Google suggests.
The power button and the volume rocker are on the left side, with nothing on the right side of the phone. The headset jack and the charging port are on the top of the phone. The back has the camera lens and the flash is set to the side of the lens. The speaker is on the back of the phone, too. The back is removable and houses the 1850 mAh battery, the micro SD card slot, and a single micro SIM card slot. The battery actually lasted me through a normal day's use without a problem. It's small, but the screen is smaller and the screen resolution is low enough that I didn't have any problems with battery life.
Performance was also fine on the Studio Mini LTE. The Snapdragon 400 chipset is a powerhouse and handles itself admirably on this phone. The phone is speedy and responsive, with very little if any lag. The processor is clocked at 1.2 GHz and runs very well. The display is just FWVGA, with a 480 x 854 resolution. That's a big part of why the performance is decent, but it also means that it's not much fun to look at. The display is passable, however, especially when you consider the price point.
The 5-megapixel camera on the back is sub-par. BLU sticks to the stock Android Camera software with this device. This is another area where BLU has cut costs, and it shows. The camera doesn't perform well at all. It does shoot video in 720p at 30 frames per second, and it has an LED flash. Here are a few sample shots for you to check out.
The BLU Studio 5.0 is a not a dual-SIM device like some of the other phones that BLU offers. It is unlocked and the 4G LTE bands will work with T-Mobile and AT&T as well as MetroPCS, and MVNOs like Straight Talk. There is also support for T-Mobile and AT&T HSPA+ 42 Mbps.
The Studio Mini LTE is an entry level device with a price point to match. For $115, this is a good phone. It is running Android 4.3 Jelly Bean instead of a more recent version of Android. The camera and screen resolution are lacking. But the performance is good and should provide you with a good overall experience. You can find the Studio Mini LTE on BLU's website and you can buy one on Amazon.